Paul George thanks Frank Vogel, calls him ‘one of the most influential men’ in his life

Paul George and Frank Vogel with Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin at the 2015 500 Festival Parade.

Paul George and Frank Vogel with Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin at the 2015 500 Festival Parade.

Two days after Larry Bird announced his intention not to renew coach Frank Vogel’s contract and to begin a search immediately, Paul George expressed his feelings for his coach of the last five and half seasons on social media.

Saturday, George took to Instagram to thank Vogel, the winningest coach in NBA franchise history. (Hopefully one Vogel’s two daughters shared this with him.)

It read: “To one of the most influential men in my life! Our relationship and love doesn’t end here.. Thank you for the journey and the memories we shared together! This pic sums up our relationship the best.. You talk I listen… And we figure it out together! Look forward to the wink the first basket I make while you’re coaching against me”

And then he closed with a word (and concept) his ex coach used frequently.

#Togetherness

Vogel and George had a close relationship. Vogel took over as head coach in the middle of George’s rookie season. In a Twitter Q&A a few years ago, George was asked what was the highlight of his rookie year … and he responded by saying it was then-head coach Jim O’Brien being fired.

[Frank Vogel, Paul George ride together in the 2015 500 Festival Parade]

O’Brien had a hard-nosed coaching style that buried guys and was not effective with that group. Vogel was immediately appreciated in the locker room — by no one more than Roy Hibbert — as he had a way of connecting with and understanding his players. He came in and had success, leading the organization to the postseason for the first time in five seasons.

[Frank Vogel releases statement on his time with the Pacers]

Under Vogel, the Pacers won 250 regular season games and were a playoff team in five of six seasons. The only season they did not qualify was last season, when George missed 76 of 82 games while recovering from a compound leg fracture.

George, 26, is under contract with the Pacers for the next three seasons, through 2019. However, the last year is a player option.

Ian Mahinmi, who played for the Pacers the last four seasons, also thanked coach Vogel.

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